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Extraordinary Achievements of Visually-Impaired and Blind Community Shine at Kansas State School for the Blind Event

[Kansas City, April 18, 2024] - The third annual event hosted by the Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB) showcased the remarkable talents and determination of the visually impaired and blind community. The Make48 competition, featuring six teams from around the country, defied expectations and illuminated the extraordinary capabilities of the visually-impaired.

In just 48 hours, the high-school teams had to design a device/apparatus/activity/feature for a gymnasium. After the 2-day weekend of brainstorming, designing, and creating a product video, the teams pitched their final ideas to a panel of judges. 

WSSB Lions from Washington State School for the Blind clinched the “Best Overall Innovation” title, securing their spot in Nationals! Congratulations to Sadie Stephens, Theo Burkhalter, and Eric Alaniz, led by Team Captain Clint Hanson and supported by chaperones Jared Miller-Price and Sean McCormick.

team from Washington state posing with trophy
WSSB Lions clinched first place and will compete at Nationals

CSB Cheetahs from California School for the Blind captivated the judges with their outstanding pitch, earning them the prestigious "Best Pitch Award.” Applause to Malibu Wardlaw, Ahmad Rahimi, Kaj Fortier, under the leadership of Team Captains Kellye Crockett and Evan Bunch, with the guidance of chaperones Kate McGrath and Max Avendano.

California school of the blind with judges and chaperones
CSB Cheetahs with Best Pitch

Recognized for understanding their skills and exceptional agilities, Team Rockets from Indiana State School for the Blind and Visually-Impaired secured the coveted "Best Agilities© Award”, sponsored by The DeBruce Foundation. Hats off to Jazmine Nelson, Olivia Garner, Chase Dickey, led by Team Captain Charlie Cox, and supported by chaperones Shawn Humphrey and Ann Alvar.

Team from Indiana State School for the Blind posing with trophy
Team Rockets with Best Agilities Award

The six teams that competed in the Make48 competition were:

  • TSBVI Makers (Texas)

  • CSB Cheetahs (California)

  • WSSB Lions (Washington)

  • Team MMA (New Mexico)

  • Team Rockets (Indiana)

  • Team MSB Bees (Maryland)

Mentors and tool techs from organizations such as KCBAS, The DeBruce Foundation, Healthy Blue, and OrCam, along with the dedicated support from KSSB, guided the participating teams who demonstrated exceptional ingenuity as they built their concepts and tackled challenges along the way.

A special VIP dinner experience sponsored by Blind Spot provided guests with an immersive opportunity to understand the challenges faced by the visually-impaired community. Following a campus tour, team meet-and-greets, and a fireside chat led by Startland News, 20 guests were blindfolded and transported to Tall Trellis Brewery in Olathe, Kansas, for a unique dining experience. The event left a lasting impression on guests, fostering empathy and understanding.

"This event not only highlighted the incredible skills of the visually-impaired and blind community but also served as a learning experience for everyone involved," said Tom Gray, CEO at Make48. “Our guests and leadership teams gained invaluable insights from the teams' resilience and innovative spirit.”

The KSSB competition underscored the importance of fostering inclusivity and celebrating the diverse talents within the visually impaired and blind community. Let's applaud these inspiring teams for their resilience, creativity, and unwavering spirit in the pursuit of innovation! 

What's Next: Excitement continues this fall as the journey of these remarkable teams unfolds on "This Old Makers Channel" on Roku. Stay tuned for updates and insights! The winning team will lock horns with competitors in November for the title of Season 8 champions at Make48 Nationals.

For more information about the Kansas State School for the Blind and its initiatives, please visit


About Make48

Make48 is a nationwide invention-competition docuseries that gives teams a challenge at the start of a two-day event. With just 48 hours, teams must create a prototype, promotional video, and sales sheet, and present their idea to a panel of judges. The teams have access to a makerspace and numerous Tool Techs that can make almost anything, patent attorneys, marketing experts, and more. This format allows everyone to have a level playing field and the chance to win, with no prior technical knowledge necessary. 

Make48 Media Contact:

Cassandra Muñoz


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